Let’s take a look at freelance writing job postings that ask for a little too much.
If the ad requires you to take a "test" by writing a "sample," hit the Back button. This is an open invitation to steal your work (it happens all the time), especially if they demand you submit it to them today. You’ll typically be asked to write on a very specific topic with certain keywords and phrases. You’ll bust your butt to craft the best piece possible, submit it, and the chances that you never hear from them again are good. They typically sell your sweat equity to their clients and pocket the cash while you’re left with questions and frustration. Is it possible that the ad is legitimate? Sure, but do you want to take that chance?
This is an excerpt from an actual posting (emphasis mine):
"So for your test assignment, I'd like you to pick one of the above topics and write me 775 to 850 words..."To test my theory, I responded to the ad asking for further information before I applied. Sure enough, I received a robo-reply then later that same day I received another reply asking me if they can expect to receive my "assignment" that day. Yikes! Talk about high pressure.